Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summer Birdhouse

We found this gorgeous birdhouse on Etsy: A Country Way Shop.  It's really well made, and adds such a nice touch to the garden!



Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Pepper Mill

My sister Barbara gave me this awesome pepper mill, part of a gift she and Jack got me as thanks for helping out with my adorable great-nephews this year.  It works spectacularly.  Here I am seasoning some gnocchi before baking in the oven (another Meez Meals prepped dinner).


Friday, June 16, 2017

Workouts With Personal Trainer/Sugar Addiction

I was going to title this, "The Elephant in the Room", tongue-in-cheek, but I am trying to bring more positivity into my life, especially around body image.  It has recently dawned on me, in a BIG way (no pun intended) that I really need to take the difficult steps involved in promoting my own health.

My winter and spring consisted of: feeling unmotivated, not exercising, getting sick at least three times between November 2016 and now (some related to CIRS, but more on that later), and eating horribly, but with sporadic attempts to set myself right.  I would get on a good path, but then feel deflated and unmotivated.  Some of this may be due to feeling depressed.  I have been taking supplements to help this, but the whole exercise piece was missing.  So I stumbled along, knew I was gaining weight, knew I wasn't feeling well even when I wasn't officially sick.  And let's just say that my approach to sugar, ice cream, and candy bars is (and hopefully - was), like that of an addict.

I finally had the courage to step on the scale - shocking.  I know my clothes weren't fitting well, but, you know, tomorrow. I had been thinking of booking some sessions with a personal trainer months ago, but wanted to wait until after Portland.  Then I got super sick, and did nothing.  But eat.

Recently, I watched some YouTube videos on fitness and lifestyle.  I became motivated to try once again to get a handle on this.  In a stroke of luck, I received a free trainer session from the health club since it is my birthday month.  I signed up, was able to choose my trainer online (which was hard, but thankfully I picked one I match well with), and set up the first session.

The first session was mostly evaluation of my strength, flexibility, diet, etc.  Then she had me stand on this diagnostic fitness tool called "In Body":


The In Body told us my weight, which I already knew was up there, my total body fat percentage, my muscle mass, and some other stuff that I wasn't really tuned into (too focused on the first three).  In a nutshell, my fat percentage is too high, and my muscle mass is too low.  It was a lot worse than I thought it would be.  We talked about diet and sugar, and a lot of other stuff.  Ultimately in the end I signed up for a series of sessions.  

I have been exercising every day, even if it is just a walk throughout the neighborhood.  I figured out a .75 mile distance and do that when I don't go to the health club.  And I have stopped treats for now, with the exception of a little bit of nice, dark chocolate (Wei of Chocolate Dark Creamy, sweetened with coconut blossom sugar), and I had a little bit of Tyler's chocolate cake the other night at a restaurant.  I also had ordered some prepped meals from Meez Meals (Mise en Place).  That helped so much with cooking - most of the prep is all done.  I also saw a product on YouTube to add to my smoothies in the morning that seems to help with the cravings.  I am going to go through the fridge, freezer, and pantry over the next few days, and get all set up to promote proper diet. 

So I think I am on the right track.  My trainer worked me very hard today, but I felt great afterwards.  And it is easier to feel positive when one is doing positive things!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Vegan Substitute for Bone Broth

My posting has suffered due to illness.  I won't go into all of it, other than to say that I never fully recovered from a cold in March, and then was basically sidelined for two weeks recently, feeling awful, only meeting the barest of obligations.  But I am finally on the mend again (tired of being sick all the time - what an awful fall and winter I have had!)

I keep hearing about bone broth and how good it is for you.  The trouble is - we're vegetarians.  A while back, I found this recipe for a "Gut-Healing Broth".  The woman who wrote the post brings up some good points:
  • Nutrients and electrolytes in bone broth can be found in vegan-friendly sources
  • The body makes its own collagen 
  • Our bodies can’t even digest collagen whole; rather, we simply absorb the nutrients from our food which provides our bodies with the building blocks it needs to naturally create collagen
  • Eating collagen does not equal having more collagen
  • Healing the stomach lining can be done in other ways
  • The calcium, potassium and other minerals found in bone broth are more than easy to find in plant-based foods plus they contain much, much more goodness
I made this broth.  It had lots of ingredients.  It used coconut aminos instead of tamari or soy sauce, which was interesting (I found the coconut aminos at Whole Foods).  I added Himalayan salt to it (it needed it!).  It had a very strong taste.  I made a big batch and froze a lot of it, parceling out small doses each day of the small Ziploc bagful that I didn't freeze.  I haven't thawed any out since, but will this week.  I just saw an interesting talk on "leaky gut" which inspired me to be more cognizant of this.  

Ingredients all prepped and ready to go

Cooking, after which the brother would be strained.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Portland Photos At Last!

These photos are from our trip to Portland in April.  We did much more sightseeing this time (previous visit was setting Robert up in a new apartment when he first moved there).  As before, all of the food was marvelous.  Portland restaurants can't be beat!

Fabulous view on the look-out

Ty and Me goofing off

These are from the Crystal Rhododendron Garden:







SOMA Kombucha - Yum!

On the way to the falls - what a view!

These are all from Multnomah Falls - Beautiful:






Thursday, May 4, 2017

I Dreamt of Blue Ballet Shoes

Apparently in anticipation of attending Bea's Thursday ballet class today, I dreamt last night that I was at Sylvia's Pointe Shoe Salon, trying on a beautiful pair of deep blue pointe shoes.  It was a fun dream; I had no trouble getting over the box of the shoes.  They looked awesome, and I wish it were real.



Portland Photos and Post Coming Soon!

Once I get my act together I will be posting our Portland trip photos.  I'll also describe all the places we went.

Stay tuned!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Sad Goodbyes

Our kitty Nugget, who we nicknamed Snuggs, has spent the past several years being treated for bad arthritis of his hips.  Then, about six months ago, he began to lose weight.  We tried three different diet regimens (the vet suspected malabsorption of the intestines, or worse, cancer), but none worked.  He got progressively weaker and stopped drinking and eating.  After discussing with the vet, we made the decision last week to have him put to sleep.

Tyler wanted to be with him when he went.  I was worried that he would feel traumatized, and asked him several times if he was sure.  He held Snuggs as he took his last breath.  It was (is) heartbreaking.

Goodbye old friend



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

To Portland We Shall Go!

Soon to see these two:


And to have some gloriously fun times as well!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Health Update (Healthy Eating)

So, I have been sick for 2 1/2 weeks.  It started just before I began my healthy living stuff I mentioned in my previous posts.  It just seemed to get worse and worse with each day.  Finally the doctor gave me antibiotics last week.  I also am getting over laryngitis.  I was too exhausted to do much, but during this time the sprouts grew, Paul and I are eating more salads (with sprouts!), and I also tried a healing drink.

But I am finally on the mend.  I still cannot sing due to the recovering laryngitis.  So I doubt I will be able to sing at all for Easter.  This bums me out more than I can say.  Maybe I'll post on those emotions another time.  Today though, I went to ballet class!  So that was a bright spot. (Separate post on that to come.)

Photos:
Pea Shoot Sprouts Growing Nicely

Healthy Healing Drink:
Coconut milk, Manuka honey, fresh ginger, turmeric
I had peeled the ginger and turmeric that went into the drink pictured
Note: the AC vinegar in the back was not part of the drink!


Friday, March 31, 2017

Microgreen Kit

Continuing on my healthy living theme, I recently purchased a Microgreen growing kit from the Window Garden company.  We bought the tray, some pea shoot sprouting seeds, and a "Veg Ledge" that fits on the window with suction cups.

Here's the kit, unboxed

The kit itself came with tray, soil disc, a water spritzer, and sample pack of seeds.  I bought an extra box of seeds with the pea shoots* - that came with three envelopes of seeds and extra soil discs.  

Seeds planted, tray suction-cupped to the window

In about 10-12 days, I shall be eating sprouts!!

*P. S. Although the packet says "Use Entire Packet", I didn't.  It seemed like too much seed.  I used half.  I suppose I will spend more money that way - buying new soil discs, but I want to easily harvest these sprouts.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

My Chance With A Jaguar!

A few weeks back, Kristin got into an auto accident - fortunately she was not hurt.  But her car suffered damage and had to be repaired.  As luck would have it, the morning she went in to get her rental car, all they had was a Jaguar (I didn't even know you could get a Jaguar at a car rental place).  So she had a lot of fun driving that baby around.  The day she had to bring it back, I asked her to go to a nearby parking lot for photos (and someone may have tried driving that Jaguar around the parking lot, but I am not confirming that!).  So we did.  Probably the only time in my life I can boast to driving a Jaguar.  Cross that off the Bucket List!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Healthy Living

Which I am struggling with...

I'm not sure if it is age, or being busy, or with the autoimmune issue I'm dealing with (CIRS).  I have really been struggling with eating right and exercising.  But I have been taking some small steps to try and get on track.  We recently had a super warm, sunny day.  I walked to a local market, which is a good fitness walk away from home.  I wore a tank top, put some sunscreen on only my face and forearms (which get hopelessly dark in the summer while the rest of me is as pale as ever), left my upper arms and shoulders to absorb some sunlight.  I got ingredients for some healthy recipes I want to try.  And try one I did.  It was just veggies and a sauce, but it was really good!

Groceries and some flowers for the table (springtime!!)

Steamed veggies with a miso-tahini sauce 
(and my little ducky in his bowl in the background)

Today was cold again, but Grandson wanted to search for Pokemon on the Pokemon Go game.  So we walked very far, probably a mile and a half, or even two.

It's a start, anyway.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Mardi Gras King Cake (gluten-free!)

We had only a small memento of Mardi Gras this year - a King Cake alone.  I was tied up with appointments, and Tyler and Paul went to Boy Scouts.  So no party.  But I had the presence of mind several weeks ago to order a gluten-free King Cake from Sweet Ali's in Glenview.  It was beautifully made, and included the requisite plastic baby (added after baking, of course). It was really delicious!  I was worried about that, and even considered getting a regular cake in addition, but the whole family liked it.  Sweet Ali's is an excellent bakery.  We are fortunate to have them so close.



There's that baby


om nom nom

Monday, February 27, 2017

Furnace And Humidity (7 Years in the Making!)

A little over seven years ago, I began seeking more humidity for our home, specifically for my harp. What resulted was a *bit* of a disaster (read here).  Fast forward to two years ago, when the humidifier was no longer working, and we had a new one installed.  Sometime between then and now, something happened to the spigot for the thin copper water line that feeds water into the humidifier.  Water was no longer flowing, and the humidifier started churning out white dust (dried water sediment from the pad).  Four days and three repair visits later, along with another leak that started (thankfully) while the repairman was here, we now have a working humidifier.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Kleen Owt!! (Healthy Start/CIRS)

Yesterday I watched a webinar (free!) presented by Dr. Axe.  I was interested in the whole "leaky gut" business because my doctor diagnosed me with Hashimoto's and CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) last year.  I had an understanding of how the gut plays into this, but needed reinforcement because I am easily tempted to cheat.  To my credit, I have been working assiduously for the past month to avoid it.  I'm doing very well.  The only hang up is the small amount of gluten contained in the Communion hosts each Sunday (I have read that they do make reduced gluten hosts, apparently low enough that some celiacs could potentially consider using them? But don't go by me on that!! Ask your doctor!)  My doctor felt that for me, a non-celiac, the weekly host would not be a problem.  But I may gently probe around at church, see if they do offer them.  

For those who are not familiar with CIRS, here's a nice general definition from a website:
"CIRS is the illness that occurs when someone who is genetically vulnerable to bio-toxins is exposed and reacts with chronic and systemic inflammation. It turns out 25% of the population carries the genetics responsible for this condition."

I found the webinar talk to be inspiring, just the push I needed.  I wanted to have a small renewal, have plans to make an immune-building soup, plus this yummy other soup I made previously.  But my fridge was woefully in need of a cleaning and purging.  I did this, there was some "Eeew" involved in the back of the vegetable drawer, got the shelves wiped down (need to do the door shelves still).  Here it is, emptied out, waiting for new groceries:  

Groceries are bought, waiting to be utilized.  I started today baking a large butternut squash for tonight's soup.  Tomorrow I'll do the immune-building soup.  I also want to make a soup I posted about previously (here).  It was so yummy, and made enough to freeze, which I did.  Last week I thawed it out for dinner - still yummy!!

I see my doctor at the end of the month.  I hope my month of gluten-free strictness and this new motivation to improve diet even more will pay off.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Small Collection of Minerals from the Urals (in a Wooden Box)

I liked the book Doctor Zhivago.  At times, it got a little long, and I must admit - the politics got somewhat tiresome.  But it has to be said that the descriptions in the book are stunning. The way the author described food (especially the food), sunrises, landscapes, etc.  Truly poetic.  One part that caught my imagination early on was a part when one of the characters, Misha, an eleven-year-old boy, was on a train where a tragedy had occurred (a suicide). "Misha was examining a small collection of minerals from the Urals in a wooden box - the dead man's last gift."  This little boy made me think of Tyler, and I set out to find one small wooden box of Russian minerals; this would be part prop for Book Club, part gift to Tyler.  I found a lovely wooden box on Etsy.  Perfect: small, six little compartments, beautifully made.  

Then the real fun began at Dave's Rock Shop in Evanston.  The people there are very helpful, and did not seem to mind my rather odd request: six minerals from Russia, that will fit in this box, very pretty ones if you please.  So, I searched through and found some gorgeous specimens.  The only hang up was the last one.  I wanted to have a bright color, but there were no other colorful Russian minerals that I liked.  I broke protocol, and substituted a nice Orange Calcite from Mexico to liven it up.   


To complete the box, I found an old-fashioned looking map of the Urals, copied it and secured it to the inner lid of the box.  I made a key listing the minerals, may eventually put this in place of the map.  But I wanted the Russian map because I brought the box with me to Book Club, where we discussed Doctor Zhivago, on loan for a day prior to being given to Tyler, who will be the new curator of this tiny collection.  




Monday, February 6, 2017

Doctor Zhivago Inspired Edwardian Outfit

For Book Club this quarter, we read Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.  It is a long book, but good for cold winter days.  The novel is set in the years 1903-1940's, but the majority of the book takes place in 1903-1920's.  I was inspired to put together an Edwardian ensemble with a Russian flair.  I also channeled my inner geology geek putting together a little box of minerals as a prop (see this post for that).

I'll post from the inside-out:
  • Undergarments - If I had more time I would have finished my Edwardian Corset Cover that I had started so long ago.  So I just wore my older Edwardian undergarments.  I did make one tweak though - I had gotten my Erté Titanic Overbust corset from Period Corsets back in 2012.  It came with two sets of lacings for the back: one for the top-down and one from the bottom-up, meeting in the middle.  This makes it difficult though if one wants to lace themselves in.  Since I like to wear my corset during the week before an event to get acclimated to it, it is difficult when no one is home to help, as a two-laces corset requires (for the most part).  So I contacted a representative from Period Corsets, and she very kindly sent me a single long lace, which I re-laced my corset with.
  • Blouse - I purchased an Edwardian reproduction blouse from Cotton Lane on Amazon.  It's very pretty.  I ordered a larger size (I have football-player-shoulders), then took in the sides.
  • Skirt - Oh dear...this was a problem.  I used Rocking Horse Farm pattern #903 (Caution: Do Not Use This Pattern!  Ever!!) that was simply horrible.  The pattern lines for my size did not match up properly, I had to tape together the size small in order to see what they actually intended.  Even with that there was this odd extra fabric on the bottom front that was completely illogical.  There were no dots on the waistband pattern piece - needed for matching to the waistline of the skirt.  There was also a pleat marking missing.  The cut lines for it were on the pattern, and the markings were drawn on the suggested (tiny) pattern layout picture, but not on the pattern itself.  I spent a lot of hours trying to redraw, adjust, improvise.  The result was okay - from the outside.  On the inside there were problems.  It looked okay, but I was very frustrated with the lost time and aggravation of using a terrible pattern.  I will have to write a review on GBACG (Greater Bay Area Costuming Guild).  They have a Pattern Review section.  I so wish someone had reviewed this before and saved me the hassle of working with a dreadful pattern.   




  • Boots - The darling, lovely Manhattan Button Boots from American Duchess!  I love these.  Customer service here was also very helpful with the sizing.  My foot is long but narrow, and their shoes tend to run a bit large.  They gave me good advice on sizing and the boots fit perfectly.  Button hook needed! 

  • Hat - I bought a faux fur hat on sale from Fabulous Furs.  All of their products are faux.  This hat is very warm.  
  • Coat - my coat is a modern-day coat, but I was happy to be able to match the faux fur of the hat with that on the coat.  

Book Club was lots of fun.  The ladies liked my outfit, and even chuckled at my very bad, well-intentioned Russian accent.  I only said a few sentences in my fake-ey accent!  Hello in actual Russian, and then some key phrases I put together watching YouTube videos, and here's a funny way if you need a fake accent in a pinch: Go to Google Translate.  Type in the sentence you want in the first box, making sure you select English as the language to detect.  Once your sentence is complete, change the language in that same box to the language you want to hear, and click on the audio clickable at the bottom of that box.  You'll hear the English words, but with an accent of the language you changed the "Detect Language" to.  It doesn't work with all languages, but did pretty well for Russian.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Attic Afternoon

Yesterday we spent time putting things away in the attic.  Our attic is accessed by pull-down stairs that fold up into the ceiling.  Tyler has never been up there before.  But he was intrigued, and went up to help.  My job consisted of handing things up to Paul.  We had boxed all of the Christmas decorations, but had not gotten to storing them.  This included our tree.  We also needed to put up a small wooden hutch, part of a play set that my dad made for us when we were kids (Ty uses the little stove as his end table; I sometimes use it as an extra tray table when I have ladies over for tea.)  But the hutch is usually homed in Ty's closet, and we needed to clear a space for the "secret passageway" that will go between Ty's and Robert's (well, the guest room) closet.

It made me think about a decorative plate I have, one of a set of four that combines Victorian homes with cats!  The name of one of the scenes is "Attic Afternoon".  The four plates used to be in our old kitchen, on the wall that had weird paneling up so that upper cabinets could not be hung.  Now that the shelf is removed (and languishing in the basement), the plates are sitting in the sideboard.  I want to put the shelf up, maybe in the dining room, so I can put the plates out again.

See the plate below, although the attic pictured on the plate is so much lovelier than our rather utilitarian one.  Oh well, Ty had fun, and our house is a little more organized.

Ty and Paul, up high in the attic

"Attic Afternoon" plate

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Kitaen Joins Family Game Night

We have three cats.  A white one (Snuggs), and tan one (Donnie), and a black one (Boone, usually called Kitten, sometimes Kitaen - don't ask).  He was having fun the other night, first in a box which he fit into perfectly, then joining us at the table as we played the kids' version of Apples to Apples.


Kitaen usually looks angry, even if he is not!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Disorganized Sewing/Robert's Room

I have two sewing projects on deck.  The trouble is that right now my home is not completely conducive to successful sewing.  Yesterday I wanted to get started tracing an Edwardian-era hobble skirt, and cutting bias strips to finally finish a quilt I started many, many years back. Step one was clearing off the dining room table - a Herculean task.  But it was done, wiped down, and worked commenced.  I was able to trace the skirt pattern yesterday.

The bias strips however, ran into a snag.  We have been, over the past, oh, six months or so, been doing some work on Robert's old room.  You see, Robert now lives in Portland, so the room is to be a guest room (and Robert's room when he comes to visit) and also a sewing room for me.  I've never had a sewing room before, and I long to have one.  But his closet was in need of repair (walls cracking, not insulated, cold), including a "secret passageway" that Tyler wants put in that leads from his closet to Robert's.  Fun, and has sort of a Narnia aspect to it (Mr. Tumnus?!).  So far the closet is insulated and has most of its wallboard.  All that remains is some electrical and the passageway door.  But we also needed to replace the ceiling in the room itself.  Right now the old ceiling is out, and 70% of the wallboard is up on the ceiling.  A paint job and new baseboards will follow (pre-stained oak this time, so all that needs to be done is the cutting and fitting).  But my sewing stuff is scattered to the four winds, including my iron.  Hence, the difficulty going forward with the bias strips.  So once I get all of my projects to the sewing stage, I will not have an optimal sewing space yet to do them.  Not really much different from when my sewing machine was in the dining room.

No one seems to know where the iron went.  To be honest, it is quite old, and I am tempted just to buy another.

My skirt project is for Book Club.  We are reading Doctor Zhivago.  I want to wear an Edwardian skirt and blouse ensemble, and I have my eye on an awesome faux fur Russian hat.  More on that in a future post.

Rocking Horse Farm #903 
Edwardian Hobble Skirt


My quilt - circa 1988

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Healthy Soup

Yesterday I made a big pot of "Weight Loss Vegetable Soup".  It was really yummy, and naturally gluten-free.  I left out broccoli simply because I forgot to buy some, and I made it with veggie broth instead of beef broth to make it vegan.  I only used four cups of veggie broth (contents of one aseptic container).  I added some Himalayan salt to taste along with the other spices (it needed a little).  I did freeze some, since it made a lot.  But have been subsisting on it as I fight off the start of a cold (along with Chinese herbs and Dr. Dunner's Sambu-Guard).  I really enjoyed the cooking, even all the chopping.  It just felt nice to create something live-giving and healthy.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Fireplace Shenanigans

Two weeks ago, in my Christmas post, I had mentioned how we needed to get our fireplace repaired.  I'll tell you how it all came about: 

Way back in 2011, we had a chimney company come out to clean and inspect our fireplace flue. They noted that the chimney was in need of tuck-pointing, and that placing a stainless steel flue insert would be in our best interest for safety, etc.  We would also likely need a fireplace fan to assist with prevention of smokiness.  The trouble was - the estimate was extremely expensive, we simply did not have the money.  So we put it off, hoping our fortunes would improve and thought "a year or two perhaps".  Wellll, maybe not.


Then about two years ago, I would sometimes notice a "sooty" smell in the parlor.  It often happened when it was raining.  It made me nervous about even lighting a fire.  I imagined large gaping holes in the chimney, allowing airflow and sparks to move past any holes and possibly start a fire in the walls.  I also had visions of the chimney collapsing in on itself à la "The Money Pit" (video clip here, advance to minute mark :35).  



From "The Money Pit"

This moved fireplace repair into "take care of soon" queue, but I remembered that awful estimate. Two years went by ("...that rusted grate knew no fire..." Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier).  
(The gate to Manderley)

Paul suggested that we try putting the missing chimney caps back on to see if that would at least help the sooty smell when it rained.  I had a different company come out, and while they were here asked him to give us an estimate.  The company was well-rated and the estimate was less even than the one from five years before, so I told Paul I would pick up extra shifts at work to make it happen.  

So, all was set, they put in the liner.  It was the smallest size they had due to the small opening of our flue, so of course we did need the fan.  The electrician came to wire it.  We did a test fire.  But, you see, the new flue opening mechanism was opposite the old one, so we started the fire with the flue closed instead of open.  Disaster!  The electrician came to the rescue and fixed it.  The house smelled like a campsite for several days after that.  


We thought we were set.  We had one fire with a commercial "log".  There was some smokiness, but barely, so no biggie.  But then we made a roaring fire with actual firewood. Gradually our eyes began to burn, and upon leaving the room and coming back, there was a haze.  We also felt that the fan did not sound as loud as it did with the initial test fire.  Oh dear, what went wrong??  We emailed both the chimney company and the electrician.  


It turns out that the fan control is German-made, and is set up a little differently than one would expect.  It actually made a whole lot of sense in retrospect.  When you first turn on the fan, you hear a click, and after about a minute the fan is running full force.  Then you can turn the dial to the right and decrease the speed of the fan.  This makes a lot of sense when first starting a fire: you want that airflow to be going full blast, then once the fire settles down, you can reduce the speed.  So from left to right on the dial the order is: Off, High, (gradual decrease), Low.  We had incorrectly assumed that the far right would be full blast, had turned the dial all the way to the right immediately. Hence, our problem.  Now we understand!

Fireplace Fan Control

I also got a special (improvised) thermal harp cover.  I don't want heat from the fires to adversely affect my harp, so I got a welder's thermal blanket to protect it.  The only exception might be if I have Tea ladies over, have a fire, and want to play harp at the same time.  A small amount of time exposed to the heat won't be so bad, but in general it should be protected.  


Now that we've got it straight we've had two lovely, non-smoky fires.  I am in love.